07 May 2015

Book Review: Restoring All Things

Too often, Christians get a bad wrap. The media has a way of presenting Christians as bigoted and hateful, standing against anything of value. But is that true? Perhaps, the truth is that Christians have been at the forefront of positive cultural and social change for the last 2000 years. In their book Restoring All Things: God's Audacious Plan to Save the World through Everyday People (Baker Books, 2015), Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet use the medium of story to explore just what Christians are actually about.

The media chatter would have us believe that Christians are anti-science, anti-woman, anti-education, anti-progress, anti-, anti-, anti-.  The list goes on and on. Indeed, there have been a number of excellent worldview and apologetics books helping to equip Christians to respond to these challenges to the Christian faith. These books are often reactive. More recently, it seems that there have been more books that I would call proactive apologetics texts, books that seek to highlight the positives of Christianity. Rodney Stark's The Victory of Reason (2006) and the newer book Joy for the World (2014) by Greg Forster are proactive. In the same way, Smith and Stonestreet's book provide a positive case for the biblical worldview in all things. 

In the introduction, they provide a useful framework for thinking about God's redemptive work in all the world by asking four questions: 1) what is good in our culture that we can promote, protect, and celebrate? 2) What is missing in our culture that we can creatively contribute? 3) What is evil in our culture that we can stop? and 4) What is broken in our culture that we can restore?  Then, through the remainder of the book, through the medium of stories, they examine the positive apologetic for the Christian worldview. They explore how Christians are at the forefront of combating sex trafficking, promoting racial reconciliation, and honoring human dignity on the deepest level. In fact, if there was one message that leaped off of the pages for me, it was the authors stalwart attention to the fact that Christians have a high view of the dignity of all people.

All in all, this was a great book. If you are interested in learning more about the positive role Christians play in fostering culture and loving people, this is a great place to begin. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Books in exchange for this review. I have provided my opinion and I was not required to write a positive review of this book. 

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